Guaranteed Income as a Replacement for the Welfare State

Basic Income Studies, August 2008.


Professor Amitai Etzioni’s policy brief presents a cogent case for a guaranteed income (GI). Like other advocates, he sees the GI as a moral imperative — in his case, it is an expression of a moral obligation we have to one another as human beings, rather than as a policy justified by a basic human right. He shares with many other advocates of a GI the view that it should be given to individuals, not families, and that it should supplement, not replace, means-tested programmes that provide additional services to the poor and other disadvantaged groups. He distinguishes his approach from many others by invoking the ’communitarian differential’, arguing that it is appropriate both ethically and practically to pay more attention to the people in one’s immediate community than to people one has never met.

This policy brief also advocates a GI, but from a different political perspective and with different priorities.

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